Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Things To Do When It's Raining

Author: Marissa Stapley
Genre: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Canadian
Type: Paperback
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
First Published: February 6, 2018
First Line: "Virginia has always loved the rain."

Book Description from GoodReadsWhen secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?Mae Summers and Gabriel Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence river. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lilly and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up, got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.

After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets stand in the way of this unconventional family’s happiness. Will they be able to reclaim the past and come together, or will they remain separate islands?

From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a powerful story about guilt, forgiveness and the truth about families: that we can choose them, just as we choose to love.

My Rating: 2.5 stars (aka ‘it was okay’)

My Review: This is a cozy read featuring an intergenerational story about loss, lies and secrets. It hits all the right boxes for a good Contemporary Fiction read - nice setting, varying time lines, a family with issues and an interesting premise and yet it didn't garner a high rating from me for a few reasons.

First, I thought the big family secrets were underwhelming and were revealed too early in the story. I was in it for the secrets!! Second, I wanted better connections to the characters and would have loved more backstory on a few, especially Gabe and his less than idyllic childhood. The characters show various family dynamics but the transitions between past and present felt awkward, slowed the pace and made it difficult to keep track of who was speaking. 

What I enjoyed most about this book was the sensitive portrayal of Lily's progression into her illness.  Her internal dialogue was distressing and touching and got to the heart of an illness that affects many families.

For a story that deals with tragedy, grief, loss and betrayal, this book felt predictable and, unfortunately, underwhelming. There are many big familial issues introduced but I didn't feel they were really examined in enough depth.  

Disclaimer: This ARC was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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